Digital revolution sees Leeds’s economy soar

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THOUSANDS OF jobs are set to be created in Leeds’s booming digital and technology sector, according to figures that can be exclusively revealed today by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The sector currently supports 70,000 jobs across the Leeds city region, which also includes areas such as Wakefield and Kirklees.

That total is now predicted to rise by 15 per cent over the next five years, creating 10,000 new jobs – around half of which are likely to be in Leeds itself.

The sector’s annual value to the city region economy, meanwhile, is set to increase from £1.5bn to £2bn by 2021.

About 50 per cent of that projected £2bn is expected to be generated in Leeds each year.

The new figures have been calculated by Leeds City Council with the help of Tech City UK, a programme set up by David Cameron in 2010 which works to accelerate the growth of the country’s digital economy.

They have been released to the YEP on the first day of the Leeds Digital Festival, organised to celebrate one of the city’s relatively unsung success stories.

Coun James Lewis, who holds the digital economy brief for the council, said: “The digital sector has been important to the economy of Leeds for a number of years and these numbers show that we can expect further high growth over the next five years.

“We have world-leading tech companies based in Leeds and are attracting more into the city every week. The collaborative success of the Leeds Digital Festival shows that our tech sector is vibrant and will continue to provide jobs and prosperity for the city.”

As previously reported by the YEP, the festival runs from today until Friday and will feature dozens of events in about 20 venues across Leeds. They will include conferences, panel discussions, workshops, coding challenges and even an art exhibition.

The festival has been organised by a steering group that comprises representatives of firms and schemes including Garbutt+Elliott, Berwins Solicitors, Jaywing, Futurelabs and Hebe Works.

Sponsorship has come from TechNorth, Sky, KPMG, Leeds Dock, Sky Betting & Gaming, Ward Hadaway and Whitecap Consulting.